How to Deal with Family Drama Around the Holidays

How to Deal with Family Drama Around the Holidays

For many of us, spending time with family during the holidays is something straight out of a Hallmark movie with days filled with comfort and joy. But for others, the holidays with family are scarier than Halloween. From the stress of traveling to the pressure of buying and wrapping gifts, and the fact many family members can’t be in the same room with each other without a fight erupting, holidays can be stressful!

While you can’t necessarily stop family drama from occurring, there are some simple and effective ways you can deal with it:

Have Realistic Expectations

So much of the pain of the holidays comes from having unrealistic expectations. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Acknowledge beforehand that you and your family are human and that there may be those moments that aren’t very pleasant and that’s okay. Life and families are messy. Recognize it, own it and you’ll find you won’t get as upset.

Set Your Boundaries

Time spent with families over the holidays can also trigger us to feel like children all over again, essentially helpless. But you are an adult now and you are not helpless. You can set those boundaries to protect your mental health. Determine before you go what you will tolerate and what you won’t. This can be for simple things like meal times and sleeping accommodations to what topics of discussion you will engage in. Be sure to share your personal limits with all involved.

Use Good Judgement

When the holiday drama sets in, it’s easy to want to drink more or eat more processed foods. But in large amounts, alcohol and processed sugars impair our mood and judgement. Do your best to not overindulge.

You may also want to speak with a therapist in the weeks leading up to the holidays. He or she can give you tools to help you navigate the awkward and tense moments during family get-togethers.

If you’re interested in exploring counseling, please reach out to me. I’d love to help your holidays be warm and merry (or at least tolerable!).

Family Therapy in Florida

If you’d like to schedule an appointment or get any of your questions answered, please call our office at 954-378-5381  and 561-223-1066 or send us an email at


Hi there! My name is Suquoya Tyler and I’m a Licensed Mental Health Therapist in the state of Florida. I have been a clinician for over seven years and have had the privilege of serving diverse populations while treating various disorders including: Depression, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, PTSD, Substance Abuse, etc.

I earned my Bachelor of Science from Florida State University, where I majored in Family and Child Sciences, and my Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. I have received formal training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing, and various other evidenced based treatment modalities.

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